We’ve kept vow to control spending
BUDGET REPORT: As council tax rises, Tories say they can be proud of record
Tories laud ‘fantastic achievement’ as budget is approved
ASHFORD council’s Conservative administration said that it had met its promise to balance the borough’s finances as the budget for 2007/08 was officially approved.
At a meeting of the full council last Thursday, councillors voted to pass the budget, which set the council’s net spending on its day-to-day running at £13.3m for the year.
In his opening speech, Cllr Clokie said: “It is a fantastic achievement that, after four years and some £4m savings, this council has maintained its promise to electors to control expenditure.
“I believe that that is something of which we can be justly proud and for which we should be congratulated.”
Cllr Clokie also said that the Government had not given the borough enough money in grants as the amount was calculated by the number of residents 18 months ago rather than today.
But labour’s Cllr Mick Hubert said: “With the eternal whining and moaning of the Conservatives here about the Government that is giving plenty in grants, they are biting the hand that feeds.
“I don’t accept the point that it’s all the Government’s fault.”
Cllr Rita Hawes, for the Lib Dems, raised concerns about the number of outside agencies, such as the Stour Valley Project, that the council is using to provide funding for services.
She said: “We are beginning to rely on outsiders, and we have to make sure that it is an equal relationship.”
She also said that the council’s need to balance the budget had led to a popular recycling scheme not being extended.
The scheme, which takes place mostly in the summer months, sees green waste collected in some areas of the borough.
It had been proposed to extend it to other parts of the district but Cllr Hawes said that this was rejected when the budget was drawn up.
But Cllr Neil Bell, the portfolio holder for environment delivery, said: “I am horrified to hear anyone say that this administration has made cuts to recycling when expenditure on it has increased nine times over in eight years.”
Cllr Paul Clokie
Cllr Mick Hubert